Tug-of-war over plaque in memory of Irish soldier killed in the Congo

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

MINISTER for Defence Alan Shatter has said the Defence Forces intend to re-erect a memorial plaque to the first Irish peacekeeper killed on overseas duty at Sarsfield Barracks.

MINISTER for Defence Alan Shatter has said the Defence Forces intend to re-erect a memorial plaque to the first Irish peacekeeper killed on overseas duty at Sarsfield Barracks.

The memorial to Sgt Felix Grant was originally placed in the garrison church at Clonmel’s Kickham Barracks in 1990, 30 years after his death in the Congo. But the closure of the Clonmel barracks in March saw troops transfer to Limerick and the church deconsecrated.

Tipperary TD Seamus Healy told the Dail that Sgt Grant’s family, who still live in Clonmel, was keen to see the plaque returned to the town.

“In order to ensure the safety and security of the plaque after the barracks closed, it was removed to the garrison church in Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick, where the remainder of the 12 Infantry Battalion personnel serve,” Minister Shatter said.

The Minister described unsuccessful efforts to contact Sgt Grant’s family ahead of a re-erection ceremony intended for Sarsfield Barracks on a date to decided.

A total of 26 Irish soldiers died in the Congo between 1960 and 1964, including Patrick Mullins from Kilbehenny, County Limerick. Trooper Mullins is one of only two Irish soldiers killed in action overseas whose remains have never been repatriated.